The following are twelve moments that ping pong through time to reflect on our past, present, and future selves.
I’m shuffling through the bookshelves avoiding a time-sensitive task and looking through my old notebooks—ideas from classes and workshops that were momentarily impactful, titles of dances that we never made, rehearsal notes, drawings of spatial pathways, partially crossed off to-do lists, barely legible logic that made sense only on that one day.
“flamingo inversion + toe walking torso hang”
It’s a memory vault of what was important. Some of these notes feel far away, of a different person. Some I remember very clearly, in the body.
“A series of /beginnings/
I don’t recognize any of these faces. Maybe that shirt. A timpani, a harp, a confused child looking out their window at all the adults milling about drinking wine in plastic cups.
Pretty decent wine, actually.
I’ve been here before. I’ve been here so many times. A different version of the same thing. The same thing, different. When will someone invent the “warm up” pill?
“Back of body on the floor.
Heel bones to the back of the skull.
The floor is colder than I want so I keep layers on to cover bare skin. I’m tired of being here. I don’t want to be anywhere else.
I’m always doing the same thing but I’m always doing it different. It has a changing sameness.
A 6pm curtain is now an about 6pm curtain and soon it’ll be a some time after 6pm curtain but the eventuality is that the start time will unofficially be rescheduled to at some point tonight. Was there a bar we walked past earlier that looked dark and cozy? When do we go to bars anymore?
Tonight. We’ll stop there tonight after this ends.
My grandma, at nearly 88, still works a few hours a week teaching memoir writing to older adults. Most of the “older adults” are younger than her. I hope I continue to love my work enough to want to do it until I am in my late eighties. I hope I am able to continue to do the work into my late eighties.
“Yield to push, horizontal and vertical
Arrive to dissolve”
Many of her students come to her class with the desire to write stories of their lives for their families. At each class she gives them a prompt: an image, a poem, a flower – something that sparks a memory about which they write. An act of looking back in order to leave something for the future.
But the bucket with the lightbulb and what looks like stage blood? When will they ever use that? Is that a part of this?
A man walks through the background, stops and stares at the dance. Maybe he was looking at us looking back at him. I’m sure someone thought, “yes NOW this is art.” Maybe it was, I don’t have a good view of what’s happening. I shouldn’t have stood behind this plant.
Props that were displayed and are now being used: chairs are sat in, tables are stood upon, a timpani pounded. The harp uncovered and plucked and scratched.
When we first started conceiving of what would become Good Strong Hands, we imagined a performance that accumulated and changed over time. Remnants of each performance would remain on stage for the next performance so that over the course of the run the work itself would necessarily change. The peel of a banana eaten during opening night would eventually rot or clothing taken off during each performance would, over time, become a mound of fabric.
We thought about how the past affects the present, which then impacts the future. Ultimately, we kept our clothes on and cleaned up the banana peel every night.
“Repeat the action
from memory, without thinking.
Stay, longer than desired”
What in the fuck am I looking at? Is that a horn? Is it a mini-computer? It makes a sound of winter winds cutting me down and a ship sounding its foghorn, looking for port in the haze.
I bet it’s more than $500. Maybe I’ll buy a cheaper version and add it to the collection of instruments I think I’m going to learn at some point.
Turn your fucking head.
Be in the in-between.”
I love the beginning of a new creative process. That period of time before choices have to be made, experimenting and generating and working within a balance of commitment to the idea and non-attachment to its outcome.
In a recent conversation with choreographer Aura Fishbeck, we were discussing this love and the tension it can create—the pull to remain in a space of exploration and unearthing alongside the necessity to shape a work so it can be witnessed and experienced by others. “And isn’t that the work?” she said. “To set up the conditions within the work so that it continues to reveal itself.” In this way, the present and the future are constantly unfolding together. Our current selves in conversation with our future selves, in real time. A sort of resistance to future forming.
It used to start and end with a train ride. Now it’s cars–one of us taking a stand about the state of art, one of us trying not to get in a wreck on the 110.
Tonight’s a train ride again–we’re excited for the experience of a public space and not having any distraction (i.e. driving) to keep us from unpacking what we just saw.
We’re silent and the windows are tinted so all we get are blurry lights zipping by.
On one hand, the buildings and density of the city feel so distant, like we’re not in LA. On the other hand, it would’ve been nice to have a view.
I recently took class from Sean Curran, a New York-based choreographer and educator. He was in town to work with Loyola Marymount University students who were performing a restaging of an Arnie Zane piece. Sean first danced this piece more than 30 years ago, well before the dancers who were now performing it were even born.
We were doing a 7-count traveling phrase across the floor. At one point, the accompanist started playing a lovely marimba-sounding rhythm from his iPhone. Seeing this, Sean shouted out with child-like glee, “The future is now!”
“Reversals and retrogrades
Redirect away from the center
Commit (loosely) to the back space”
At some point I’ll revise this edit of an excerpt of a monologue from a 2016 work-in-progress shared show from when we still lived and worked in San Francisco.
“When they are 600 they will stop beating rocks together hoping that fire comes out. They’ll lift their hands from the ground and stand tall in the sun. They will look to the stars and feel the dual sensation of being completely inconsequential and completely in control of their own destiny.
When they are 600 – feeling like they just started and how could it already be so late – they will stare into mirrors, willing their cracked faces smooth. They’ll try to remember the clearest lake, and wonder if they’ll ever get to return. They will wonder when they went from something to behold, to something to be held, to just barely holding on.”